Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Brown's in Cedar Bluff Cemetery in Rockford, IL

Mabel E. Brown nee Peterson (May 13m 1877-April 21, 1921)
Cedar Bluff Cemetery
Rockford, McHenry, Illinois
*picture posted with permission of Alva, http://www.findagrave.com/ photo volunteer

Here's how Mabel is related to my Brown's:

Richard George Brown (my great great great grandfather)
+Frances E (Kizer) Brown (my great great great grandmother)
----Welcome Asle Brown (4th great uncle)
      +Mabel E (Peterson) Brown (13 May 1877-21 April 1921) (4th great aunt)
----Clarence Brown (buried at Queen of Heaven, my great great grandfather)
      +Elizabeth Galligan (buried at Queen of Heaven, my great great grandmother)
--------------Ruth M Brown (buried at Queen of heaven, my great grandma)
                    +Raymond Mason Peterson, Jr (left the family during great depression, and Ruth and son took on maiden name Brown)
------------------------My grandfather
                                    +My grandmother
------------------------------------My dad
                                                     +My mom

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Follow Friday: Following our ancestors' heroes

I'm taking this Friday off from work for a much needed break from work, to attend the New Yankees vs Chicago White Sox baseball game (and to fulfill the 17 requests Ive received through RAOGK)....it's the beginning of a birthday celebration weekend (my birthday is Monday). The first 20,000 fans to the game are sopposed to receive a miniature Blackhawk Stanley cup trophy (I hope to be one of them), and all fans treated to fireworks after the game. I am a huge baseball fan, and a die-hard White Sox fan.

Thinking about my upcoming trip to Comiskey Park, aka US Cellular Field reminds me of my childhood. Since I was five years old, I've probably been to one White Sox game a year, more so now that I'm older and can buy tickets. Comiskey Park is one of my favorite places to be. I love the atmosphere, the sounds of the bat hitting the ball, watching someone slide into home, making a diving catch for a fly ball, and the smell of hot dogs on the grill.

My first memory of Comiskey, and probably the number one reason I love baseball so much, was when I was five years old. The White Sox were playing the Red Sox, and Roger Clemens was pitching for the Red Sox. My parents and I were standing a couple rows back from the field on the third base side during batting practice. Roger Clemens walked over to where my parents and I were standing, gave me a ball, and said I was cute. That's enough to make any 5 year old's day. Although he wasn't on the White Sox he became one my baseball favorites and personal heroes.

Now about 22 years later, Roger Clemons is in the news and going to court for charges of lying to the court regarding use of steroids. It saddens me as he was my childhood hero...

Other than Roger Clemons, my two biggest heroes are my parents. I admire and appreciate the way they raised me, the values they instilled upon me, and the way they worked so hard to make sure their children had a better life and mote opportunities than they did growing up. I don't know how how I'll ever to be as good of a parent as they are to me.

I turn the tv channel and hear news about Tiger Woods and his divorce, singers being arrested, movie stars doing drugs, teachers sleeping with their students, and parents abusing their children.

What makes someone a hero? If our hero does something shameful, should we still regard them as our heroes?

It really makes me think about our ancestors, who were their heroes? How have our heroes changed? And our present and future generation: who are your heroes? Who are our children's heroes?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Technology Tuesday: Picasa Desktop

I just recently discovered Picasa's free software download. The program is very easy to download and install, and best of all it is free. The program will search your computer for pictures and add them to the system. You can sort pictures by face, tags, date, and folders.

Here are my two favorite features:

1) Fast upload from software to Picasa web album, so I can share pictures online with friends, order prints of photographs, and easily access photos for use in my scrapbook pages and genealogy work

2) Ability to make collages of your pictures, like the one pictured below:

Brenden and I at Shabbona Lake in Illinois, 2009.

Although, I've only been using the system for a couple hours, I am finding it extemely useful and easy to learn and work with.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 23, 2010

Memories of Mothers on Monday

Digital Scrapbooking: Two pages using the same layout, but different colors.   Edited with Photoshop Elements.

My mom, my two sisters, and me, Fall 1987
Posted by Picasa

Brenden's mom, two sisters, brother, and Brenden, Winter 1983

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sentimental Sunday: My favorite childhood toy

My favorite toy as a child was my pink stuffed bear, who I affectionately called "Bear Bear"....wasn't I a creative child....

What was your favorite toy as a child?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Inspirational Message to share: Stop, Look, and Listen

I received the following email message this morning from the hospital director at the VA Hospital where I am employed.  Although the director's message is about the way we treat veterans, staff, and family members at our hospial, I believe this message applies to everyone, and wanted to share it with all of you:

"When you were growing up, do you remember adults telling you to “Stop, Look and Listen” before crossing the street? When I was at the Fisher House this week after talking to a veteran and his wife, I thought about that saying as it relates to how we interact with each other. Our lives are centered around multi-tasking...texting while walking, talking on the phone while typing on the computer, having a conversation with your kids while making dinner. It is true that when we multi-task, we aren't really giving anything 100 percent of our attention. So... I thought I would try to "Stop" (doing the other task that I was in the middle of), "Look" (at the person who was talking to me) and "Listen" (really Listen). I truly felt in the moment and engaged and allowed myself to look in the eyes of the person who was talking. I saw more smiles and laughter in people's eyes. I heard words of wisdom, felt more empathy for the pain in their faces, and spent some valuable moments truly engaged with my kids. It really made a difference. I encourage all of you to challenge yourself to soak in the moments with veterans, staff and families. The way we spend our time engaged in the moment is what adds up to how we spent our day. "Stop...look...and listen" -it may be a small thing but the benefits are priceless." -Sharon Helman, Edward Hines VA Hospital Director, email dated 8/20/2010

Have a great weekend and remember to "Stop, Look, and Listen"

My furry family: Before and After Photos, Part 3

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Family Tree Chart: Hubbard L. Ring

Brenden's ancestor, Hubbard L. Ring:

* Research on this family line still in progress.  If you are related, I'd love to hear from you.
* Citations available upon request
* Created with Family Tree Maker 2010 software

Treasure Chest Thursday: My gorgeous grandma abt 1950

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: My family at the wedding of friends, 1959, Capriola and Carriglio

Wedding of Josephine Carriglio and Jerry Capriola (September 30, 1959)

According to back of picture: Back row (left to right): "Ma" Ellman, Nancy Ellman, Florine Schrimpl, Stark Liparota, Mildred "Millie" Vitraelli (my grandma); Front row (left to right): Betty Sliciano and Jo Bakaries (or Bakaires)

According to back of picture: Back row (left to right): Ed Ellman, Jack Schrimpl, Frank Liparota, George Bakaires (or Bakaries), Front Row (left to right): Al Maroncelli and Nunzio "Nick" Vitraelli (my grandpa)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Millie's Quilt: First time sewing, quilting, and applique

Please pardon this interruption in my genealogy posts to bring you a post to document my first experience using a sewing machine, quilting, and appliquing, and as my post for SewCalGirl's  "Pets on Quilts" Show 2010.

Last summer, I made my laborador-hound mix, Millie, a quilt. I wanted to make her a blanket that I could keep in the car for her to sit on during our many car trips.  Here's the end result:

How the quilt was constructed:

I found the perfect fabric at Joann Fabrics.  The fabric is dog themed with dog words, paw prints, and bones.  Then, I picked out a pink fabric to match the dog themed prints.
As I mentioned above, this was the first time I had ever used a sewing machine. I learned how to sew and quilt from the many experienced quilters and sewers who post tutorials and images on their blogs.  Although the quilt is my own design, I used many techniques learned through one of my quiliting inspirations, Cluck Cluck Sew, especially in learning how to make quilt stars.

The center of the quilt features my first attempt at applique...also my own design...I used the freezer paper technique for the applique.....first time quilting and appliquing all in one quilt!!  Images are a dog, a bone, heart, and a paw print.  In the very center is Millie's (and mine) initial , "M".

I finished the quilt top, and added a fluffy bottom and quilted along each square's border (not pictured). When I finished the quilt, I was so proud of it that I only let her sit on it once, because I didn't want the quilt full of hair and doogy drool...

The quilt is now proudly displayed on my couch in the family room, to cuddle up with when it gets cold.

And of course, this quilt was "made with doggy supervision"

Now, I think I owe Millie a quilt she can actually use...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Saturday Scrapbooking: Washington, D.C. Vacation/Work trip in 2008

Brenden and I in front of the Capitol Building in Washington, DC in 2008. I was on work related travel, and he got to come with, so we enjoyed some sightseeing.

Friday, August 13, 2010

My Furry Family Friday: Millie's Story, Part 2

Millie's story, as told to me by her rescuer,

"Millie [originally Mocha] started out as a free box puppy at Walmart. My stepdad's neice and nephew wanted to get their kids (8 and 14 now, 6 and 12 at the time Millie arrived on the scene) a puppy for Christmas and so she came into the family. Unfortunately, the kids were VERY cruel to her. The oldest use to hold her up by her back legs and swing her around while Millie cried to be put down. I witnessed this many times, and saved her from this abuse as often as I could, but Millie went home with these people and I did not. When Millie would puppy bite the kids (they would rough her up and cause it) they would slap her in the face as hard as they could and laugh at her reaction. The kid's grandmother would tell me not to worry, "they're just being kids and puppies are tough." It broke my heart to see such a sweet dog in such a terrible home."

"As time went on, Millie became just a "thing" and quickly forgotten. She began to bark constantly in the backyard and the neighbor called the police and complained enough. Millie was uprooted from one bad home to another- the grandparent's house. She was running loose for awhile but she had a bad habit of jumping on people to eek out even a little affection from anybody, and she was then tied up on a 6 ft chain to live out her days. Everytime I went to the house I would spend hours with her, and I silently made a promise to her that when I was able, she would leave that chain behind.

This went on for 2 years. Then, I seen Millie was losing alot of her hair, she had such a foul odor to her like pure infection, and her skin was bubbly and sticky. I asked what was wrong with her and was told mange, she was being treated. This went on and on and on for 9 months I'd say. It only got worse and worse. Many times she'd not have any water in the winter.. it was frozen solid in her pan. The linens in her dog house were pure grime- never ever changed. They stunk as bad as she did.

Then, at Christmas, I could no longer take it and I took action on my promise to her. I got together with a friend who offered graciously to foster her and take care of her medical expenses. A friend of mine offered to go with me on "the heist" to steal Millie away from her neglectful situation. We snuck up to the house and the other dogs barked continuously.. we thought we woke up the whole neighborhood. Milie never let out a peep. She knew what we were there for.  I ran behind her dog house and unbuckled her oily, dirty and too tight collar, slipped a lead around her neck and buckled her collar back up, staging it as she slipped her collar during the storm and ran away. We ran like bats outta hell to my car, parked down the road in a church lot and drove away quickly. My heart felt like it was going to leap out of my chest with excitement. Millie stayed overnight at my friend's house and kept him up all night, not wanting him to leave her alone.
Her primary caregivers have been men that took care of the bare neccessities for her. She likes women too, but seems to attatch more to men, since she relates them as the food bringers. She may have been played with (probably close to abusive) by the kids of her first family, but she was completely ignored when at their grandparent's house, (and possibly she developed some seperation anxiety when she finally received the attention she craved from my friend). The kids wouldn't even ackowledge her. She would sit at the end of her chain watching for ANYONE to look at her, say her name or walk just a foot closer, any indications that she might be able to get a pet on the heard or a back scratch. Her whole body would wiggle and shimmy when she seen me coming, because she knew I was always going to give her loads of affection, more than she received in the time between my visits."

The story breaks my heart everytime I read it.....I'm so glad I was able to give Millie a happy home on May 30, 2007.

(Pictures from Millie's rescuer, taken in 2007)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday: Civil War Ancestor: Richard G. Brown

I can hardly contain my excitement!  I just discovered that my great great grandfather, Richard George Brown, fought in the Civil War.  With a popular surname like Brown, how did I determine it was him?

Through his death certificate, I was able to determine that Richard Brown was buried in Cedar Bluff Cemetery in Rockford, Illinois.  I posted his information on Findagrave, and hoped that someone would take a picture of his tombstone for me.  Good luck and bad luck....someone claimed my photo request...but there was no tombstone marker....but.....Richard is listed in the cemetery record book as: Richard G Brown, buried Block 21, Lot 2, Grave 24, buried March 13, 1920, age 72 years old, Notes: G.A.R.

Richard was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R)!  I did some searching on ancestry.com and found his record.

Richard enlisted on February 1, 1864 at the age of 18.  He served for the Union for the state of Illinois.  He enlisted as a Private in Company E, 95th Infantry Regiment, Illinois and was transferred out of Company E on August 17, 1865, and transferred into Company E, 47th Infantry Regiment, Illinois.  He mustered out on January 21, 1866 at Selma, Alabama.

Now, I'm going to do some searching on his two regiments to discover more about his life as a Union Soldier.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: 1947 card game

My grandpa, Nunzio "Nick" Vitraelli" (the one with his shirt on).  Also pictured, Grandpa's friends, John Ranieri and Frank Liparota.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Thomas and Martha Tutland

Pictured below is the tombstone of Thomas and Martha Tutland.  While we are not certain if these Tutlands were related to Brenden's ancestors, the Tuntlands, this couple often causes confusion in ancestry records.  Brenden's ancestors, Thomas and Martha Tuntland were born 20 years earlier than this couple and also lived in the same location, Sandwich, Illinois.  We haven't found the tombstone of his Tuntlands.


1849 - 1932

Tombstone located in Oak Ridge Cemetery, Kendall County, Sandwich, Illinois

Picture taken by me, 2010

Friday, August 6, 2010

My Furry Family Friday: Part 1

The title of my blog may make this obvious, but let it be known, I love dogs!

I never grew up with a dog, let alone a pet.  My only "pet" was a goldfish, Hoover, which lasted a couple of months while I was in college.  My mom never had a pet growing up and blocked every attempt of trying to get a dog into our house.  My two sisters and I even wrote and signed a contract saying that we'd take care of the dog.

Mom just wasn't a fan of dogs, their hair, or their drool.  My dad on the other hand, loves dogs.  He grew up with many pets: a cat named Rusty, a turtle, and the infamous poodle named Candy.  While we may have had better luck convincing my mom of getting a dog, if we had wanted a small dog....dad wanted a big, hairy, drooling, Saint Bernard, and my sisters and I wanted a golden retriever who we'd name Cookie.

Each Christmas we'd ask Santa for a dog.  One year Santa brought us a stuffed Old English Sheepdog who we affectionately named Claus or "Claws".  We learned our lesson that Christmas and started putting "dog, real, alive, breathing" on our Christmas lists.

It wasn't until I graduated college and moved into my own apartment that I finally got my dog.

At the time I was completing my Master's degree and working full-time and had just met Brenden.  Never owning a dog before I didn't want a puppy, and volunteering at the dog shelters I knew I wanted a rescue.  I searched pet finder long and hard for a yellow lab or a golden retriever.  Then one day, I saw Millie and read her story......

....to be continued

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Touchdown AND Treasure Chest Thursday: An Address Book of Memories

At a recent family party, I discovered a wonderful source of genealogy goodness: my great grandma, Marie Cicero Gardos Malouf, and my grandma, Mildred "Millie" Gardos Malouf Vitraelli's address book.  Two address books!

Although both my great grandma and grandma are deceased, the address book contained wonderful information such as:

1) A birthday card list with their parents, siblings, daughters, sons, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, in-laws, and neighbors birth dates (and death dates)

2) An anniversary list for their parents, siblings, daughters, sons, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, in-laws, and neighbors

3) And of course....Addresses!  Addresses of parents, siblings, daughters, sons, nieces, nephews, cousins, in-laws, and neighbors, and not just the latest addresses, but a history of past addresses (crossed out with one line, and still legible)

I was able to use this information to fill in some missing information in my tree and add people to my tree....I only knew my great grandma had four siblings, when she actually had 11 siblings!!

What a gold mine of information!  An an extra bonus, my great grandmother and grandmother's handwriting

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Ancestry.com to Family Tree Maker Import Error: Invalid tag MARR and DIV

I was finally able to import my gedcom from ancestry.com to my 2010 Family Tree Maker software without the software crashing!

But....Upon looking at the Error log, I am finding the following errors:

Line 14615: error 4 : Invalid tag: MARR. Line ignored.
Line 18588: error 4 : Invalid tag: MARR. Line ignored.
Line 33532: error 4 : Invalid tag: MARR. Line ignored.
Line 61331: error 4: Invalid tag: DIV. Line ignored.

There are over 70 instances of the Invalid tag: MARR and 4 instances of the invalid tag: DIV

I opened the gedcom in Excel to see if I could figure out what was happening, here's the info for the following error code:

Line 33532: error 4 : Invalid tag: MARR. Line ignored. (where 1 MARR is Line 33532)

2 DATE 1 Nov 1960
2 PLAC Cook, Illinois, USA
2 SOUR @S1496203298@
4 TEXT Marriage date: 1 Nov 1960Marriage place: Cook County, IL
3 _APID 1500::6020371

Any idea why I am getting these error codes? Is there a way to fix them all at once, or do I need to fix each record individually? If they need to be fixed, what part needs to be fixed?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Wordless Wednesday: Grandparents Nunzio Vitraelli and Mildred Gardos Malouf Wedding in 1953 in Chicago

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Darius and Maria Finch

Brenden's ancestors: Darius and Maria Finch.

Darius Finch
Apr 8, 1815 - May 19, 1867

Maria Finch-Miller
his wife
Feb 10, 1816 - Feb 8, 1900

Tombstone found in Oak Ridge Cemetery, Sandwich, Illinois, and is also posted on Findagrave.

Pictures taken by me, 2010

Monday, August 2, 2010

Madness Monday: Where are the photos?

After my grandparents passed away my mom and her four siblings were left in charge of cleaning my grandparents' house...deciding which items were worth saving, selling, giving away, and trashing.

I was only in 7th grade at the time, but I remember getting my grandma's gold chain with a gold "M" initial, as I was the only one in the family with an "M" name, and a white stuffed bear my grandma kept in her spare bedroom.  I also remember a lot of fighting over who gets what item.

Other items were split between my mom and her siblings.  Some of the more valuable items, like my grandparent's record collection containing Frank Sinatra and other 50's and 60's music stars were given to my uncle for safe keeping and eventual selling.  My mom received my grandma's Precious Moments navity set, and my aunt received the remaining Precious Moments statues that my grandma had collected.  Christmas decorations (a BIG deal in my family), jewelry, pots and pans, and other items were split between each sibling.  Each of the siblings also received their baby books that grandma had put together for them when they were born.  But what happened to the rest of the family photos?!

No one inquired about the photos until I did, almost twelve years after my grandparents' deaths.  My mom and her siblings had planned on going through the photos and splitting up the photos between the five of them.  Somehow, life got in the way and the pictures were never looked at, and they forgot who received the photos for safe keeping.  (So safe they can't even find them....)

My aunt, the oldest, thought she had the photos, but after going through her attic, basement, and spare bedroom determined she didn't have them.  My mom and I searched the basement, crawl space, and picture boxes and albums and couldn't find them.  My uncle in Florida didn't have them, and my mom's other sister didn't have them.  So that leaves, my other uncle, who we *hope* has them.

The unfortunate thing is I seem to be the only person interested in finding the photos.

With digital technology available, I offered to scan the photos and make a CD for each sibling, so they wouldn't have to "split up the pictures".  But....that requires my aunts and uncles to find the photos.

Other than a few emails, reminders, and phone calls, I don't know how to find these pictures.  I can't search their houses for the pictures, and I haven't quite sparked their interest in finding the pictures.  The pictures are supposed to include pictures of both my grandparents as children and their respective families.  Pictures of family members I have never seen.  

Any suggestions?!